Let me make sure I understand this… My amazing wife calls me and says, "we received an invitation from Quincy Jones (one of my heroes and mentors…) inviting us to dinner with the President of Rwanda, His Excellency Paul Kagame along with the First Lady of Rwanda, at his home." Huh? There’s nothing difficult about that…. of course we said yes (smile)!
But none of this (part of the story) really was all that surprising; everyone knows that Quincy Jones is the man, …and of course he is the one person hosting a Head of State for a country at his home on this day in L.A. I mean, Q probably does it weekly or something anyway. That is just how he rolls — pure class, and pure substance. Did I mention an artistic and musical genius to boot? Okay then.
The part that got us was the Rwandan part…….
You see, my sweetie and I had just watched Hotel Rwanda (and yes Don Cheadle was there — sitting right behind us with his wife at dinner too. Who turns down an invitation from Q? Hello…) and things didn’t look so good back in the mid-1990’s. In fact, it was 1995 when more than 1 million Rwandans were murdered in one of the largest and most brutal genocides in history.
But here were, a mere 10 years later, hosting the first democratically elected President of Rwanda, just hours after he had met with our President, President George W. Bush, in the White House in Washington, D.C., being hosted by Westcoast royalty of our own. And then the gratifying part — President Paul Kagame is incredibly bright, and focused on building a country that empowers and uplifts its people, educates its children, and fulfills its God given potential on this earth. In other words, unlike so very many, it does not at all seem to be "about him." Truly a servant-leader, and one that understands and respects market economies too. He and I even talked about bringing our silver rights movement portfolio to Rwanda (his request), starting with financial literacy for his youth. And then he did the thing that American managers do so well — he delegated; asking me to speak in detail to his governor in charge of their State monetary system. A sharp WOMAN…. Translation — this man get’s it. Onward with the future, and anyone that can contribute should.
Of course, I cannot end the post without saying WHO ELSE was there…..I couldn’t handle the email traffic from irritated friends who probably ONLY wanted to know this (smile). And so, here you go… Ms. Oprah Winfrey (she and Q are like big brother and little sister) and her dedicated Oprah suite right there on property, Stedman Graham, actor Don Cheadle and his wife, billionaire builder and philanthropist Eli Broad (say Sun America, KB Homes, etc.) and his wife, the guy next to me that owned Caesar’s Palace at some point (don’t ask me his name…I was done after the "oh yea, when I owned Caesar’s" line), and to me and my sweetie’s right, our honored friends Jacqueline Avant and music legend (and Q best friend) Clarence Avant, …and of course the great Quincy Jones and his beautiful lady Kim.
A magical evening had by all, compliments of Q and catering! Thank you Q for being the very definition of class, substance, soul, spirit, intelligence and love.
P.S. When me and my sweetie left the house (we tried to stay over but Q was NOT having it — ha, ha, ha. Although truth be told, he probably could not find us in there ANYWAY!) that evening an assistant handed us a wrapped gift. Very nice gesture. Well, when we got home and opened it…we found a beautiful, framed color photo of ourselves. We had totally forgotten that we had taken a photo when we arrived. Can you BELIEVE this man? On top of everything else the brotha has a photo lab on property….. Anyway, like I said, pure class.
Onward, with HOPE